Giveaway!! This Bible is changing my life.

I got a new Bible for Christmas.

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Well. Actually, I bought my sister the wrong Bible (who needs large print? She does!!) and so she gave my gift back to me.

Anyway, it is changing my life.

Prior to this Bible, my time in the Word had been spotty since college. Bursts of Bible Studies and daily readings countered by months of nothingness. Worship, yes. Prayer, always. Consistent time in the Word, eh. And I had been praying for months that God would make me a true blue, can’t live without it, woman who loves His Word.

Well for years, my sister had been raving about the One Year Bible. And like a little sister, I rolled my eyes and stayed off the bandwagon. I’m bratty that way. Back in Maui, I had tried SOAPing and the one year plan but never made it past Leviticus. I just always seemed to get stuck. And/or struggled with all the flipping and the tracking and the what-nots. Lame, yes. Honest, yes.

So I thought, what’s so great about the One Year Bible?

Well, over the past ten years I have seen my sister transform into a mighty woman of God. Not her life. Not her circumstances. But she at her core is being transformed. And it is both beautiful and very appealing.  And she will tell you, hands down, it is because of her time with the Lord.

So I thought, maybe this accidental Christmas gift was God’s answer to my prayers.

And it has been.

Such an answer to prayer.

Why?

  1. Everyday I read from the Old Testament, New Testament, Psalm and Proverb. It’s dated so I know what to read and how much to read. That in of itself takes SO MUCH PRESSURE off me. Weird, I know. But I struggle with things like that. And if I miss a day-I just go to today’s date. It’ll be ok.
  2. Instead of sticking with tried and true passages, I’m reading things I had forgotten or never seen before. And it is challenging the crap out of me and making me dig deeper into what I believe/think/understand about God. And His heart for His people. And me. Reading this way gives space for the Lord to speak in the most random of passages. img_3667
  3. Because there are margins built in, I can journal as I go. And this isn’t my fancy church bible where I am careful about what I write. Because this puppy is dated it’s worthless in church. So it’s kind of my diary. Raw. Honest. Filled with questions and WTH??? when I don’t understand.
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  4. It made me buy a commentary. I have never really had that desire before. I would use Blue Letter Bible if I wanted to dig a little deeper on something. But reading the whole counsel of God’s word like this…I wanted a companion guide for the journey. Because there is some messed up stuff that goes down in the Old Testament. Especially to women. It breaks my heart. And makes me want answers. Some friends I trust (thank you Sarah and Jeff) recommended this one and it has been so helpful. And kept me from chucking the whole Bible out the window. Because there have been a few points where I thought this whole thing is crazytown. And because I know it’s not, I wanted to understand the big picture.

Please do not judge me too harshly. I am working out my salvation with fear and trembling. I love Jesus. I know the Word. I am just falling in love with it/Him in a new way. And when you fall in love with someone, you have to make peace with what seems like the good, the bad and the ugly. And that is what it feels like I am doing.

ANYWAY.

I wish I were Oprah and could give a bible and commentary to EVERYBODY who needs a little more Truth and a Fresh Word in their lives. But alas, I am not.

But I can give away a few. Because they are THAT good. All you have to do is drop me an “Oh Hey” in the comments section and I will pick three lucky winners on Sunday:) And in the meantime, I’d love to know what is helping you fall more in love with Jesus at the moment.

Love, Love, Love

The Girl Who Lives in My Head.

P.S. I in no way make money off these links because

A) I’m not cool like that

B) I just love telling the people I love about the things I love

C) I want to make it easy for you to find them.

 

 

Guest Post-Gratitude Handed Me a Shovel

Y’all I’m so stoked to share this guest post from my dear friend Heidi. A few weeks ago I had asked the question on Facebook: “What do you need to take a break from?” And quite a few people mentioned Social Media. And I get that. OH DO I GET THAT. But in my heart, I knew it wasn’t Social Media that we need a break from-it was what it does to our hearts. But I didn’t know what to say.

So when Heidi asked me to edit this post for another blog- I read it and was like, “This is it!” She totally nails the battle that’s raging in my soul when I tell myself I need a Social Media break. What I really need is some gratitude and a shovel.

Without further ado: Ms. Heidi Fields on the Mic. Check one. Check two.

I walked the store aisles in January looking for a new journal and a calendar. The bulletin boards, decorative pictures and notebooks seemed to shout at me, “Dream it, plan it, live it! Crawl, walk, run! Make it happen!”

The jury is still out on whether I was attending my own personal pep rally or being sarcastically mocked by the home and office decor. Based on the facial expressions of others nearby, they too were trying to determine if we were surrounded by friends or foes. Except for one woman wearing red glasses and denim capris. She was definitely feeling the love from the peppy action verbs and happy fonts. It was like the items were waving pompoms, jumping up and down excitedly and calling her name. She may have even fist bumped a sequined file organizer that said “Ready, Set, GO-AL!” as she plucked it off the shelf and put it in her shopping cart.

too legit pic

At the start of each year emotions and mindsets range from enthusiastic and hopeful to defeated and discouraged. And then there’s the realistic optimist who shoots for the stars nearest the earth’s orbit with one foot firmly on the ground. This person seems to effectively split their gaze between the sky, which we all know is the limit, and the ground-level challenges that exist.

A close friend of mine has a very practical outlook on self-reflection and yearly goal setting. She reasons that even if she’s waving a white flag of surrender by the end of April, she’s still had four months of moving forward instead of backward. She doesn’t let the uncertainty of whether the course can be perfectly stayed through all four seasons keep her from going after good things. This approach invites progress, even if intermittent, and appears to keep the all-or-nothing paralysis at bay.

The all-or-nothing approach can be the carrot that pushes us to surpass all expectations or the stick that tempts us to create our own Pit of Despair as endured by Buttercup’s sweet Wesley.

All-or-nothing goal setting (and keeping) doesn’t work for me. It seems to cause anguish during the goal setting process and require sackcloth and ashes when progress is not made as planned. Plateaus and missteps usually don’t serve as places of evaluation and more runway to take off again toward the goal. Instead, they serve as goal obituaries and determined, all-or-nothing types gladly play the role of funeral director, mortician and all eight pallbearers. And we can do this all by ourselves, thank you very much. We’ll wear black for the rest of the year, even if the sounds of Auld Lang Syne have barely faded.

When setting personal goals for 2018, I wondered if it was acceptable to resurrect ones from past years and simply change the date. Because I have a graveyard of goals to choose from, a new notebook with a shiny cover that says “I’ve got this,” and, most importantly, Gloria Estefan’s Get on Your Feet added to my new Pandora playlist.

What is it that keeps us from try, try, trying again if at first we don’t succeed? A paragraph in a goal planning workbook caught me by surprise this year because it described a beast I thought had been tamed. A wild thing that often keeps me from trying again.

“Comparison isn’t just the thief of joy, it’s the thief of everything. Keep your eyes on your purposeful path. Celebrate others. Celebrate progress, not perfection. Cultivate gratitude over comparison.”                                     Lara Casey, Cultivate What Matters

Comparison growls softly at first and often goes unnoticed when we scroll through social media feeds, talk to neighbors, coworkers or fellow church goers. It bares its teeth a little and arches its spine when news spreads of promotions, houses, raises, book deals, relationships, weddings, baby bumps or whatever it is that isn’t ours. It circles and waits to see if we’re what’s for dinner. Will we put aside the sting of what we lack and choose to celebrate progress even if it’s not ours? Will we choose gratitude?

As I tried to set goals for the year, it was clear I was putting myself on the dinner menu. There were tears of self-pity, jealousy and defeat. I may as well have poured Emeril’s homemade steak sauce all over my head and curled up on a large white plate. After the tears eventually subsided there was another decision to be made. Gratitude was still an option. It’s always an option because we can rest in the love of God which David tells us endures forever (Psalm 136). And that love is available even on the days when we’ve chosen comparison over gratitude. That love is unconditional and soothes the wounds of comparison. In fact, when we step into God’s love, it is sure to produce gratitude in us.

Gratitude is a secure place from which to dream and set goals. Gratitude brings freedom from keeping up with the Joneses, the Smiths or whoever it is that seems to have it all or be able to do it all. Gratitude slays the beast of comparison and hands me a shovel to raise long buried pursuits from the dead and try again.

Gratitude tempers all-or-nothing and finds joy and purpose in the midst of plateaus. Gratitude celebrates progress and lets go of perfection. Gratitude celebrates others and builds camaraderie where there might have been rivalry.

Thank God for gratitude.

The perfect choice for home office décor this year might be a wall of bulletin boards dedicated to gratitude, a shovel hanging above my desk, and an empty bottle of Emeril’s homemade steak sauce. Because dinner is no longer being served.

Read more from Heidi Fields: Losing the Floaties by 40 

If My Life Were a Hallmark Movie

A few weeks ago I sent this text to a friend…

“If my life were a Hallmark movie, yesterday was day when the lead character learns the ropes of farm(ish) life from her dad. The montage would include her learning to drive a tractor. Red of course.  Pruning lilac, weigela and rose bushes. Dropping off loads of brush at the burn pile.  Wrestling a giant blackberry bush and losing. Giving the neighbors dog a bath. Said dog shaking off bath water in the kitchen. Laughing on the porch with her dad. Dad losing his balance and falling. Resetting dad’s dislocated pinky. Girl driving to town to grab dinner for the family and randomly running into her love interest where they banter and grab a quick drink.”

You read that right. I RESET MY DAD’S PINKY! FINGER. It was no longer parallel to his hand. It was perpendicular. And turning purple by the second. So I channelled my inner Doc Martin and yanked that bad boy back into the socket. (Side note: It had happened to him once before a few years ago. But I didn’t know that)

This is a genuine snap shot of my new life (minus the love interest and the grabbing the drink and all) But hey, if my life were a Hallmark movie there would definitely be a love interest. How do I know? I have watched EVERY SINGLE ONE curled up on the couch with my mom. That’s how we roll on Saturday nights here at Green Pastures. That and SEC football. And bull riding. And baseball. Throw me in the briar patch.

Just to catch you up: Four months ago I moved back home to Tennessee to take care of my parents. Indefinitely.

Due to some health issues, they needed a little (or a lot of) extra help, depending on the day. So I volunteered. Why? Because I love them. Because I watched them take care of their parents. Because I’m a homebody at heart and loved the idea of being back with my family. Because the Bible tells us to honor our parents. And because, honestly, I really like them. A lot.

Every day has been different. Unpredictable. Unprecedented.

At least for me.

Everyday has been filled with laughter. Grace. Adjustments and apologies.

Growing up I dreamed of caring for and nurturing a family of my own. God in his kindness has answered my prayer. Just a little more creatively then expected. And I am loving it.

But I’m not going to lie. There have been some growing pains.

Going from a full-time career to a full-time caregiver was a huge mental shift. I’ve had to redefine productive. Often. Upright, medicated and well-fed are the new #squadgoals.

In so many ways, this new season is giving me repeated opportunities to live out what the Lord has been teaching me over a lifetime. He’s so sweet like that. In fact, I feel like I am taking a final exam. “Ok Les. We’ve been learning and studying and walking through some big concepts. It’s time to put it all together and see what stuck.” Some days I get an A. Some days, I get another chance. Like the day I flicked my dad in the forehead at the Walmart check out line. Whoops. Try again.

Anyway.

I miss you guys. And getting to catch up over coffee. But life looks very different these days.  SO I’m going to work harder at writing more faithfully. So we can stay connected. I wish I could fly to you and sit face to face and we could have long meaningful conversations.

But I just tiptoed past my parents bedroom and I think they are up.

Time to make some coffee!!

I would love to know what the Lord is teaching you this season… drop a line in the comment box if you feel like it. 

Love, Love, Love,

The Girl Who Lives in My Head.

PS. This picture is from Engaging Father Christmas which is just one of the MANY Hallmark Christmas movies I can’t wait to see this season.

PPS. It it based on my friend Robin’s Christmas novella which you can check out here.

PPPS. She talks about what it was like for her book to become a movie in her book I like to call Ask for the Moon!!! but it’s really called “How my Book Became a Movie”. It is one of my favorite books because it fills me with hope. Not about writing or movies. But that God loves us, hears us and NOTHING is wasted in His Kingdom.

 

 

 

 

An open apology to my friends with kids.

Dear Friends, Family and Loved Ones with children,

Please accept this note as my formal apology if you have ever felt judged by me on your parenting skills. At any point in our friendship. Ever. Let me also apologize for any comments I have made to you or your child that felt hurtful, unhelpful or unkind. Especially those that might have come in the heat of battle. Or in that last moment of sanity. Or after the crappiest day possible. Please accept this heartfelt and humbled out apology. Forgive me, I had no idea.

Love, Love, Love,

Your childless friend who just fostered a teenager

 

 

Six months ago, I became a foster person to a wonderful freshman girl who I affectionately refer to as the FFK (Future foster kid) It’s a term I started using before fostering and it stuck.

How fostering a teenager has changed my life.

 

  1. I am now constantly aware of the status of my leg hair. “Ooo, your legs feel like wana.” (Hawaiian for sea urchin)
  2. My eyebrows are analyzed on a daily basis. Never underestimate Kylie Jenner’s influence on the next generation.
  3.  I have laughed more in the last six months than I have in the past six years. And we are talking good laughs. Belly laughs. The soul cleansing kind. The kind that catch you off guard and make you smile every time you remember them. This kid is funny. Witty. Sharp. And she keeps you on your toes. Trust fall.
  4. I am learning to pick my battles. For example, not so long ago, my beloved FFK was sitting a few rows ahead of me at church. Shooting spitballs. Slightly mortified, I turned to the veteran foster mama sitting beside me and said, “What do I do?” She whispered back, “You choose you battles.” Now my gut reaction was spitballs in church? Heck yes that is a battle I am going to fight! But then I remembered this little girl isn’t my flesh and blood. I did not raise her. She came to me with ideas and notions and a way of life that I am not privy to. So in the big scheme of things, the  fact that she turns in her phone at night without a fuss,  faithfully cleans the bathroom without complaint and is kind, thoughtful and respectful in her interactions with me, are way more important. And as much it killed me to do so, I could let the spitballing slide. And I did. And not a few seconds later one of her friends regulated her behavior. Thank you Jesus.
  5. I am learning to extend way more grace to others. Before the FFK, there have been many times I have wondered why a parent would let their child _(fill in the blank)_. Sometimes I have commented on it. Other times I have just wondered in my head. After the spitballing incident of 2016 I realized that maybe parents are just picking their battles. Because no one wants to be the heavy all the time. And no child responds well to constant correction. And good night nurse there are so many things I want to correct. But I’m learning that picking battles, enjoying the moment and embracing them for who they are is what make shepherding so challenging and so rewarding all in the same breath.
  6. I am learning to care less about my couch. Right before the FFK arrived, I got a brand new sectional couch. It is blue. It is lovely. And it was not cheap. Within the first month of our time together, I heard myself on more than fifty occasions repeating phrases my mother said to me growing up (and possibly last Christmas). Don’t set your bowl directly on the sofa. Be careful. Hold your fork over your plate. Please don’t spill that on my sofa. Don’t use the pillow as a dinner tray. Etcetera. Etcetera. Etcetera. I was making myself crazy. And it wasn’t very fun. So I realized I had a choice to make. A) We could  eat at the table. Nope.We have manners night. That is enough.  B) I could make her eat on the rug. Not fair. C) I could just not care. Nope. D) Continue what we are doing, stop obsessing and have her clean any spills she makes. Ding. Ding. Ding. Mind you, I have a 10 year warranty so anything crazy would be taken care of. But that wasn’t the point. So I learned to relax. And she learned to be careful. And how to clean a couch cushion. Properly.As well as how to get Mexican candy juice of the carpet. But that, I am learning, is part of the deal. Messy grace. Messy lives. Messy love.
  7. I am learning when to panic. And when to keep my cool. The FFK is one pretty steady cookie. She sees the glass half full, likes to keep things light and fun, and focuses on the sunny side of life. She is not one to sit around and talk about feelings. Ever. But one time she thought I had accidentally disabled her phone. Boom. Waterworks. I was shocked. I had not seen so much as a tear in our time together so far but the fear of losing her music, photos and Instagram streaks brought on huge tears, a trembling voice and hiccups. It was bad. And it was fixable. Thanks to Brene Brown I have learned to ask myself, “Do we have enough information to panic?” and then go from there. We made it through.
  8. I’m learning to live with an open hand and engaged heart. This 13 year old girl will hopefully be reunited with her mom. Very soon. Which is a wonderful thing.  But it is also bittersweet.

God bless you. To all the parents. Of all types. You amaze and inspire me. What you are doing is such a worthwhile use of your time. Keep the faith. Keep running your race.

Love, Love, Love,

The Girl Who Lives in my Head

Since writing this post, the FFK has been reunited with her mom. Yay!! It was such a joy to be able to offer her a safe place to land while her mom worked through some things. I loved everything about the experience. Some people have asked if I will do it again. Heck yes! I’m planning on spending some quality time with the fam this summer in Tennessee. And then come fall, I’m up for another adventure.

Why I Became a Foster Person

About six years ago I was lying in bed at my new apartment. I was all snuggled up under the covers, the last box unpacked and everything in it’s place. And a thought popped into my head.

If I’m still single in five years…I should look into fostering.

And then I drifted off to sleep.

Time passed.

I met people who told me that the system is horrible. That it is broken and they send kids back to terrible situations. “Don’t do it,” people said. “It will break your heart.”

And I thought, “Ok. Maybe I won’t.”

More time passed. And I was invited to help out with Camp Agape, a weekend camp for kids whose parents are incarcerated. My first year there I was blown away. I was in a cabin with little girls ranging from five to fifteen. And as the weekend progressed and the walls came down, the stories that these little girls shared…broke my heart.

But I realized something.

There was a common thread woven through their stories.

No matter what their parents had done to them, these little girls wanted their parents. The just wanted them whole.

I should really foster.

Now by this time, God had already changed the trajectory of my current life. I was studying for the Praxis and headed back to school to become a teacher.

And in a surprising plot twist, I got hired to teach on the OTHER SIDE of the island. This was not what I had signed up for when I agreed to change jobs. Because when I felt the call to teach, I knew I wanted to be invested in the community. I wanted to see my students outside of school and be able to build relationships with their families. So a job on the Westside, meant moving to the Westside.

I’m already giving up my life at the church. Do I really have to give up my life in Kihei?

I’ll be honest. This whole process has been very baffling to me. Because in a million years, I never imagined I would become a foster person. (I hate using the word parent because these kids have parents. I’m their person. For a season.) It was never on my list of things to do. Ever. But I knew in my heart that the Lord wanted me to keep moving forward with it. One step of obedience at a time.

So I did.

And as I began my first year teaching on the Westside, I realized how much space I had in my life. For another person. I could easily foster a high school girl. The middle school where I teach is right down the road from the high school.

So I made a little petition of the Lord. If you want me to foster, will you find me an affordable two bedroom in Lahaina? The words affordable and Lahaina don’t really go together.

He did.

I moved October of last year. And started the training to become a “Resource Care Giver” which is the states new way of saying foster person.

The training.

It’s not complicated. It’s just hard. On the heart.

Because the reality is, there are children who are trapped in terrible situations. Because the adults in their lives make selfish choices born out of their own brokenness.

And the foster care system is designed to give those kids a safe place while their parents heal. That is the big vision.

It doesn’t always work that way.

But it can.

So last May I completed the training. And got my certificate.

And in the Lord’s amazing timing, two weeks after my ACL surgery, just when I could start driving again…

I got the call. To become someone’s person. And offer a safe place to a very vibrant and intelligent 13 year old while her mom gets some things figured out.

Next week, it’ll have been three months. And it has been a blast.

Not always easy but so very worth it.

I’ll tell you more about that later.

 

Love, Love, Love

The Girl Who Lives In My Head

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I Am That Girl

When I was a little girl….and well into college, I used to pray that my life would not be normal. From an early age I wanted to serve God in a grand way.

Of course, I assumed that would include marriage and a family. Duh.

Growing up, there were always a handful of “older” single women in my life. I remember them as fun and dynamic. They were involved in ministry and poured into my life in some form or fashion. That’s why I knew them. And loved them.  But as much as I admired them, I did not want to be one of them.

I always thought marriage and a family was a given in life. Until it was not.

The other day I was in Target, walking down the aisles.

Thinking.

Daydreaming.

About life. God’s plans. My plans.

And in a moment of clarity, I realized I AM THAT GIRL!!!

I am the “older” single woman.

Who is fun and dynamic. Involved in ministry. Who still dreams of marriage but has accepted that it might not be in the cards. At least at this point in life. Who is going for it. Regardless. Living life to the full. No matter the season.

And the truth is… I really like being that girl. Her life is pretty great. 

What I judged in my youth, is actually a gift.

Getting ready this morning, I had a bit of a hangover. A vulnerability one. Because when I wrote about my year without romance, I opened up my heart a bit too much. I feel like I showed my guts to the world. And they spilled out a little.

Because I’m 38 years old. A grown woman.

Friends my age are navigating life with teenagers. Mortgages. College funds and daycare. Parents who are sick. Possibly dying.

And my deepest struggled is still boys??? Are you kidding me???

But it is. I could lie and pretend it isn’t. But then I would be keeping a secret. And living from a lie. And lies destroy us. And then we eat our feelings. Or worse.

And I don’t think I am alone in this.

When I think about the people I care about,  I think there are plenty like me.

Who are living lives they never imagined. Or judged in their youth.

Maybe you are one of us. Maybe you are the mom where your life and family look like a crazy hot mess busy. And you always swore your kids would not act like that in a grocery store. Until they did. All the time. And maybe you realized life isn’t about being the perfect mom. It’s about being available. And messy. And it’s beautiful.

Or maybe you are that career gal. Sex in the City style. Or suburbs. Who is working her way up the ranks. You’re a leader. Shaping the future. Of a company. Of a planet. Of a generation. Getting to invest in people. Earning enough to give in ways you never imagined. You own your own home. You travel when you want. You do what you want. God is allowing you to use your gifts and talents and you are a person of influence. And while it wasn’t the life you dreamed of, it’s actually pretty great.

Or maybe you are that married lady. (Or single woman) Who is amazing. Whose life is blessed and beautiful. Whose relationships are fulfilling and job is awesome.

But.

You long for babies. And it creates an ache deep inside that won’t be silenced. That cries out to God. Over and Over. And over again. You have done everything you can. To make the dream come true. And then later, silence the cries. But it won’t work. The longing won’t fade. And so you live your life. Full and amazing. To the best of your ability. Trusting God is writing your story. All the while, hoping and praying. That maybe one day. You’ll get to see a flutter of a heartbeat grow to maturity. And you have learned to live with the pain, Maybe it has actually become a place of ministry. Of healing. Of hope for others. And even though you would you trade it all in tomorrow, you see God’s hand. And know that He is with you on the journey.

I think in some way, we are all “that girl.” The one living someone else’s life. Dreaming of a different one.

I just finished a book called “Looking for Lovely” by Annie Downs. It’s all about how she looks for God in everyday moments. To see and acknowledge His hand. In her life. If there are any chubby girls in the house-this book could be our manifesto. If you want to see your inner most thoughts on paper, she spills her guts in the first few chapters. To set up the story.

Brene Brown calls it Daring Greatly. A life of gratitude. Leads to wholehearted living.

Ann Voskamp wrote 1000 Gifts. Same idea. Finding joy by being thankful.Seeing the gifts amidst the pain.

If you are reading this and think you might be “that girl.” The one you loved but didn’t want to be. Or judged and prayed you never would become.

Embrace her. 

Take a moment and find the lovely.  The beauty. Be thankful for the good. Find the joy. 

It’s there.

Because our God is good. He writes beautiful stories. With plot twists. Climax. And denouement.

You might just be in the middle of a really powerful tale of God’s love and redemption. That seems to be His favorite theme.

 

Love, Love, Love,

The Girl Who Lives In My Head

okay

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Year without Romance | embracing singleness | how to do single well

A Year Without Romance.

Last summer, I felt like the Lord asked me to give up romance.

Novels.

Music.

Movies. 

For those of you who are still getting to know me, this was a hard ask.

Because.

I am a champion of love!!

A Year Without Romance | I am a champion of love | The girl who lives in my head | 

 

I love all things romance.

And may or may not have a matchmaker sash to prove it.

I have whiled away many hours reading yummy Christian fiction. And teen fiction. And tween fiction. And chick-lit. Love stories. They are like candy to me. I don’t read tragedies. Life is hard enough. I want to be swept away.

I heart meet/cutes. Of any kind. Of all kinds. They lived happily ever after, yes please!

I may or may not plan my holiday social life around Hallmark Christmas movies. Oooo, your Christmas party is on the 13th at 6pm? Let me check my calendar.

Seriously. Hallmark movies are pretty much why I heart Christmas.  I mean, besides Jesus’ birth. And time with the family. And the food.

So of course when I heard the Lord ask me to give it up for a year, I wanted to make sure it was Him and not me talking.

It started with a random thought while driving down the road. It went a little something like this…

    You should give up romance for a year. Nope. Turns up T. Swift on the radio.

A few days later…

    No really. I think there is something to that idea of quitting romance. Just give up the music and movies for one year. What’s the worst that could happen?

   The worst that could happen!?! Some amazing guy would move to Maui and I would miss him because I’ve given up romance.  Turns up Blake Shelton on the radio.

Sometime after that I wrote this in my journal.

Papa G-Help me to trust you. My heart is so full, so happy, so pleased. And yet, I don’t understand why I haven’t met my counterpart. I see the picture dimly. And I make up all sorts of wrong conclusions. It’s painful to me. My heart. My confidence. Our relationship. What is the Truth? Why am I still alone? Is there something broken in me that needs to be fixed or is it just  a timing issue. I see this whole thing imperfectly. Would you speak to my soul and answer my heart’s most intimate question? If it is because I’m broken-will you please fix me? Mend me. Make me whole. I know that you are the God who sees me. I lay down this desire at your cross once again and choose to trust you and wait patiently for you.

 

After seeing my heart in writing, I realized that it was time to obey.

And give up romance.

novels.

music.

And movies for a year. 

It hasn’t been as hard as I imagined*. 

 

And the results have been incredible.

Why???

Because the desire to be married no longer consumes me.

There have been (many) seasons where I been 100% content with being single. And there have been (many) seasons where I have not. Been content.

 

Being single.

 

And when I am not content it is not pretty. Every time my brain is not occupied. When it at rest. When I’m driving. Or laying down to sleep. The desire to be married becomes my focus.

Or worse. The reasons why I must not be marriage material become my obsession. Focus.

It’s exhausting.

It’s debilitating.

It steals my joy.

And binds my soul.

To the wanting.

 

And I know God sees this. And wants so much more for me.

So He whispered the solution. Give up romance. So I did.

My friend Kimberly is always talking about idols.

And the Southern girl in my wants to scream. Because I heard idolatry pounded from the pulpit.

But usually she is right. And she is lovingly trying to bring something to my attention. That is not serving me well.

Matt Chandler says it this way:

Matt Chandler | Idolatry quote | When you take a good thing and make it an ultimate thing, you guarantee that thing will drive you into the ground.

 

 

And that’s what the desire to be married had become. An ultimate thing. And knowing my track history, that’s a really dangerous place to be.

Now, I know some of you might be thinking…if it is an issue, why not kill it off? That desire.

 Makes sense.

It would definitely be easier. SO MUCH EASIER. To make the choice. To kill off desire.

To just decide, I’m not going to get married. I choose singleness. Done. And just live from there.

Because in essence…desire brings pain. So kill desire, kill pain. Right?

Oh wait. That’s Buddhism.

And I don’t think that is what God wants me to do. Kill my heart off.

Instead, He’s asking me to give up control. By surrendering. All my desires.

And to trust Him with them. All of them.

 

And wait. On His timing.

 

It is much harder to choose hope. Than to kill desire.

It actually takes great faith.

So He whispered a solution.

Make me the Supreme Romance of your life. Desire me. My love. My heart. My attention. My affection.

Only that’s not what He said. Because I wouldn’t have understood what He meant.

But when He asked me to lay aside what I thought was romance,

 

He filled in the gaps.

 

And set my heart on fire.

 

For Him. And Him alone.

 

And when my mind is at rest, I’m no longer obsessing.

I’m living. A beautiful story. That He is writing.

With an open hand and surrendered heart.

At least for today.

 

Love, Love, Love,

The Girl Who Lives in My Head

 

P.S. I am in no way advocating anyone giving up romance or anything of the sort. This is my issue. My journey.

P.S.S. In an effort at full disclosure, I have had a lapse or two in the movie department. When I was with my parents at Christmas. And maybe that one time in February. Around Valentines Day.